PortalMorski.pl has investigated that at least since 2015, no oil has been imported to Poland from Libya. Meanwhile, a tanker with crude oil is heading to Gdansk from that location.
The vessel in question is the Aframax class tanker PS Amalfi (IMO No 9439395; year of construction 2010; GT 60,185; DWT 108,958; cargo capacity 123,030 cubic metres). The tanker loaded crude oil via a single buoy mooring (SBM) No 04 anchored at the Es Sider offshore terminal off the Libyan coast on 28-29 April and is due in Gdansk on 12 May.
The tanker belongs to Premuda SpA of Italy, its operator. The registered owner is PS Tanker One Ltd, while the managing owner, also responsible for technical management, is CSM Italy Srl, the latter both also from Italy.
PortalMorski.pl has checked ship calls to Polish seaports since November 2015. According to the survey, there has been no tanker in Poland whose previous port of call was in Libya for the last six and a half years.
Therefore, it is highly likely that there have been no oil deliveries from Libya to Poland since late 2015. It is not even known whether there have ever been any before, and if so, how long ago. Given the situation in Libya and the geopolitics, it can be assumed that – at least since the big changes in Poland in 1989 – we have not had any oil imports from that direction.
Libya will probably not now prove itself to be a long-term, reliable trade partner. It is a country rich in oil and gas, but there are also civil unrest, military activity, and destabilisation. However, spot deliveries from this country are not ruled out. They may supplement sources of oil when diversification and a change in the direction of imports are necessary because of the situation with Russia.
In February 2011, Deutsche Welle reported that as much as 85 per cent of Libyan oil went to Europe. Of these, around 22 per cent reached Italy and just under eight per cent – Germany. In 2010 Germany imported oil and gas worth three billion euros from Libya.
However, since the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, Libya has been destabilised by internal power struggles. In recent years, the official government in Tripoli and the self-proclaimed authorities in control of the eastern part of the country have been competing for supremacy.
Political instability has translated into chaos in oil production and exports. While Libya’s production capacity is theoretically up to around 1.6 million barrels per day, actual production has often ranged from one million to just over 200,000 barrels per day in recent years. In addition, Libya loses as much as USD 60 million per day (at USD 100 per barrel) to the blockade of oil export terminals caused by unrest and rivalry between the two power centres.
After one of its major interruptions, Libya announced in September 2020 the resumption of oil production and exports. The Libyan National Army (LNA) commander, Marshal Khalifa Haftar, announced then that the country would resume oil production and exports in LNA-controlled territories. However, crude production was interrupted in most of Libya’s oil fields due to the blockade of seaports in the country’s east. According to the NOC, the halt in production has caused Libya losses estimated at nearly $10 billion.
In August 2020, the authorities in Tripoli announced a ceasefire and a suspension of all military operations. Then, with the support of the parliament, it was decided to resume oil production, which was successfully implemented, but not without problems and interruptions, which is still the case today.
Now Libya wants to boost the supply of oil from its fields, taking advantage of the market situation following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Back at the end of the first half of April, Libya’s national unity government announced that it had adopted a plan to develop its oil sector to increase production to 1.4 million barrels per day.
“The national unity government wants to increase the production rate due to the rise in global oil prices,” a statement on the Libyan government’s official Facebook account said.
However, at the end of the second decade of April this year, the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) announced another wave of disruptions to oil production and transport due to force majeure in oil supply. The NOC announced that it wouldn’t be able to obtain supplies from its largest field, Sharara, and shortly afterwards announced the closure of another oil field, El Feel. As reported by the Libyans, the Zueitina terminal was also unable to meet its oil export commitments.
The oil market is counting heavily on crude from Libya. At the beginning of February this year, it was announced that BP – after a 10-year break – was returning to oil exploration in Libya. BP has agreed with the Libyan state-owned NOC to resume oil exploration on three exploration licences. BP halted all exploration work in Libya in 2011, following the coup that ousted dictator Muammar Kadaffi.